10 Things We Like About Bryce Harper in 10 Days in the Majors
May 8, 2012 in Uncategorized
By DC Staff Writer John Manuel:
The 10 Things we like about Bryce Harper after 10 days in the Majors:
1. The Debut:
One day notice was given to the baseball world two Fridays ago that Harper would make his debut the following day versus the Dodgers. He didn't crank a home run, but it was a show that Saturday night. Harper's ripped double over the center fielder's head was the kind of shot everyone expects for years to come. Then gunning down a Dodger at home only to have Wilson Ramos drop the ball. A late inning loss but a bright start for #34.
2. The Walk:
Never has a walk which ended up in a loss been talked about on sports radio as much. Game 2 of his career vs. LA again, the 9th inning 1-2 count where Bryce battled and eventually walked and became a much needed baserunner down 2-0. I believe Harper showed many in the baseball world that 19 is only a number and he has a lot more maturity as a player. The Nationals organization saw this, and now the rest of the country has started to.
3. The Look:
What's with the haircut? Actually I think its great, although my first thought was the Boz. Hopefully Harper's movie career will be better, which we hope won't start for 20 years or so from now. First look, you think punk kid wanting attention, but his play and demeanor has been the opposite. I can barely remember when I was 19 and I know I couldn't handle the day to day. Its cool to have a trademark image. I would rather talk about that than debating why a bar served my relapsed centerfielder and what he was doing in bar bathroom.
4. The Pickup Softball Game:
Maybe my favorite of the first ten days of Bryce Harper. Taking a couple swings on the mall was great stuff. Washington sports have changed a lot quickly adding guys like Bryce Harper, RG3 and I would have to include John Wall's first pitch at Nats Park last summer.
5. The Move to the 3rd Spot:
One thing is clear, Davey Johnson believes in Harper already. Started his first game batting 7th and now is already hitting 3rd. And he should be there. With Zimmerman coming back this may change but I would expect him to be no lower than 5. Even most phenoms aren't put this quickly into a position like he was. Most stay 6-7-8 range to get comfortable.
6. The Stats:
So far batting .308 with an on base percentage of .424. Good stuff. Has not hit a home run yet but has doubled already 5 times. The homers will come and probably come often. More walks than strikeouts and one famous steal (which I will get to). Impressive by the numbers so far.
7. The National TV Game:
I know this was probably scheduled before the call up since the Phillies and the Nats had promise coming into the season. But what perfect timing for ESPN. And what a crazy game. It almost feels like the Nats didn't lose after everything that happened. It was great to see either the Nationals or Orioles get the spot light, although the O's tried to steal it by playing 17 innings on Sunday. One down and many more nationally televised games to go over the next few years.
8. The Bean Ball:
And to the game itself. "Old School" Cole Hamels beams Harper is in first at bat. Was it intentional? Hamels answered that after the game. All he did was start a new rivalry for DC sports which is outstanding. There was no need to plunk Harper and it was bush league move, not old school. At least the Nats came back at him in his first at bat. I agree with everything Mike Rizzo said on Monday concerning Hamels. It may not matter for Hamels who can bolt to the highest bidder this winter, but there is now a Nats/ Phillies rivalry. For the next series do you think about bringing back the "Meat Hook" for some muscle since these teams may go at it.
9. The Steal of Home:
I said earlier the pickup softball game was my favorite. I was wrong, the steal of home is. For Harper to steal home on Hamels moments after he plunked him sent a message how he is no normal rookie. Stealing home is always a show no matter who does it but as your first professional steal was Jordan-like. From the instincts to the execution the steal will be remembered for years to come. I can see it many years from now Stuart Scott Jr. hosting the Sportscenter Top 10 Plays of Bryce Harpers Hall of Fame career and seeing it again.
10. The Potential:
Nats fans have had it tough the first few years in DC but this is a new time. First you got Zimmerman, then Strasburg and now Harper. Harper will be a star and many would argue he already is. The excitement to have him in the middle of the lineup for at least the next 6 years and hopefully more. Its only been 10 days, but we have already seen a lot to like about Bryce Harper.